Most people who use an illicit drug do not go on to develop addiction. A Columbia study in rats helps explain why an early exposure to alcohol can tip the balance and increase a person’s vulnerability to developing addiction to cocaine.
The study is published in Science Advances and is titled “Prior alcohol use enhances vulnerability to compulsive cocaine self-administration by promoting degradation of HDAC4 and HDAC5”. Contributors to the study include Edmund A. Griffin Jr., Philippe A. Melas, Royce Zhou, Yang Li, Peter Mercado, Kimberly A. Kempadoo, Stacy Stephenson, Luca Colnaghi, Kathleen Taylor, Mei-Chen Hu, Eric R. Kandel, and Denise B. Kandel.
This work was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (K08DA030439, to E.A.G.), the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (70638, to E.A.G.), the Swedish Research Council (Dnr 350-2012-6535, to P.A.M.), the Royal Physiographic Society in Lund (to P.A.M.), and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (to E.R.K.).